The White House announced, on Monday, the latest changes to the 2014 plan to cut emissions from power plants by 30% compared to 2005 levels by 2020. The new standards are now stricter and require a 32% nationwide cut, although individual states will have varying targets under the proposed rules.
While natural gas emits far less carbon dioxide than coal,and a fifth of all US coal-fired plants are expected to close down by 2020, the White House plan now provides incentives aimed at increasing the share of energy generated by renewable sources from 22% to 28%.
These changes include the ‘Clean Energy Incentive Program‘, with pollution credits being offered to states who improve energy efficiency in poor communities or build lots of renewable energy before the targets come into force in 2022, these credits can be used to offset pollution emitted later.
The gas industry argues that natural gas is more cost-effective for the majority of states, when it comes to replacing coal, and would be needed when solar and wind-power can’t provide a sufficient power supply.
Marty Durbin, president and CEO for America’s Natural Gas Alliance, accused the White House of ‘perpetuating the false choice between renewables and natural gas’.
“We don’t have to slow the trend toward gas in order to effectively and economically use renewables.”
“An accelerating move to natural gas is critical to keeping the lights on, heating and cooling our homes and fueling growth in domestic manufacturing, all while reducing air emissions. We stand ready to work with states, customers, consumers and the energy and environmental community to ensure that this transition moves forward efficiently and cost effectively.” Mr Durbin said in a statement.
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